A documentary film produced and written by Nick Spark and directed by Amanda Pope. In 1928, and already wealthy through inheritance, Pancho grew tired of bumming around the country, riding the rails and hitchhiking with a friend from her Mexican Revolution adventures, so she obtained her pilot’s license. She organized the Motion Picture Pilots Association, which pushed for better conditions for stunt pilots. Don't just stand there like some lonesome god-damn mouse-shit sheepherder. Hey! Although Pancho had lived like a pauper, her estate was more than met the eye–about $70,000 dollars. Your tax-deductible donation can help make "The Legend of Pancho Barnes!" Pancho married her fourth husband at the age of 45, Gene “Mac” McKendry, in 1946. Pancho’s energy was limitless. Ted Tate was the master of ceremonies. The bank fought the case in Kern County courts for three and half years. When they first met at the club, Chuck Yeager thought Pancho was the homeliest woman he ever met, but was immediately taken in by her stories and chutzpah. In 1919, Florence married Reverend C. Rankin Barnes of South Pasadena, California, and they had a son, William E. She soon purchased her first airplane, a Travelair biplane, and hired a flight instructor; she made her first solo flight after only six hours of lessons. And they burned up." It's a painful story to relate, and Tony gets choked up explaining the details. When he was six, she was gone for a considerable number of months — traveling across Mexico disguised as a man. Email. Pancho Barnes, original name Florence Lowe, (born July 14, 1901, Pasadena, Calif., U.S.—died March 1975, Boron, Calif.), aviator and movie stunt pilot, one of the first American women to establish a reputation and a business in the field of aviation. She ran … ", "The Story of Pancho Barnes ... and Her Happy Bottom Riding Club (Originally appearing in, "The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club", Pancho's story on Chuck Yeager's personal site. In 1929, there were 4,200 licensed pilots in the United States. Why Yeager, you old bastard. In addition to pilots, the club attracted Hollywood’s glitterati, including Elizabeth Taylor, Shelley Winters and Roy Rogers. "Even in death Barnes still loved a good joy ride."[1]. Featuring interviews with test pilots Bob Cardenas, Bob Hoover and Chuck Yeager, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and biographers Barbara Schultz and Lauren Kessler. Pancho joked she would secede from the United States and proclaim an Independent Nation of Pancho, but none of it actually came close to the former glory days Pancho had enjoyed before. Pancho Barnes was a force of nature, and she didn’t do anything in a predictable way. And he was riding a horse called Happy. The public life of Pancho Barnes started at the age of four when she danced on the stage with Pavlova. That was an attraction of the ranch, seeing that." Narrated by Tom Skerritt with Kathy Bates as the voice of Pancho Barnes.

Company Credits Florence Lowe was reared in an atmosphere of wealth and privilege on an estate in San Marino, California. Technical Specs, [NASA recruiters are talking to test pilots]. Alone that is, except for 55 pedigree dogs, 10 of them who had starved to death. At first, Pancho’s flight school was based in Palmdale, 20 miles away, but she moved the business to her ranch the following year. Again, Pancho acted as her own legal counsel. Granny would learn later like the others, that Pancho’s heart had a wandering eye. Narrated by Tom Skerritt with Kathy Bates as the voice of Pancho Barnes. Kim Stanley played her. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login).
Pancho Barnes was the film industry’s first woman stunt pilot, and worked in pictures such as Howard Hughes’ famous 1930 World War-1 spectacle, “Hell’s Angels.”. And then splash down - possibly get lost at sea. Pancho’s 58 year-old son Billy Barnes died piloting a North American P-51 Mustang flying near Fox Field in Lancaster, California in October 1980.

Seek the Heat at The Desert Way with us! It would be my first lesson and the beginning of a life-long involvement in aviation. Next thing you know, Pancho offered Tony a job working at her Rancho Oro Verde. Independent Press-Telegram: Pancho is Woman Who Has Touched All The Bases, 12 Oct 1968. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Pancho’s marriage took a nose dive but she wasn’t going to give up easily. She broke Amelia Earhart's air speed record in 1930. Ben’s plot of desert looked better from the air than from the ground, but Pancho didn’t care. Known as the "Happy Bottom Riding Club", it became the epicenter of the aviation world during the early jet age. Having spent four months abroad in Mexico, getting caught up with revolutionaries and escaping the attention of authorities, disguised as a man, she began to use the nickname "Pancho" around this time. "My dad died. She was born into wealth, but couldn’t stand the obligations living in high society demanded. But Pancho loved a good fight, or even a bad one. Pancho even ran an illegal casino in one of the outbuildings. Photo (above): Billy Barnes' field based operation at Fox Field, as it appears today. Your tax-deductible donation can help make "The Legend of Pancho Barnes!" We live in fame or go down in flame. In 1931, she started the Associated Motion Picture Pilots, a union of film industry stunt fliers which promoted flying safety and standardized pay for aerial stunt work. He helped turn them over to them. After cataloguing everything, he planned to donate the collection to an unnamed Southern California university library that he was negotiating with. Bill was the product of Pancho’s first marriage, to the Rev. Anybody could tie down their plane for free, provided he or she agreed to buy gas and oil from Pancho. ", That day, Tony proved to be a hero. Sadly, it would be Bill who would be killed in an airplane accident. The growth of the air force base and a fire brought Barnes’s ranch to an end in the 1950s. Just to be showy, General Boyd flew to the wedding in a new jet bomber that he was testing at the time. The Betsy Ross Corps, founded in the early thirties, was a national organization of female pilots intended to function an auxiliary to the Army Air Corps. But she was happy up here.”.

Rankin Barnes, and was born just about nine months after the wedding ceremony.

The Civilian Pilot Training Program officially began in the Fall of 1939, and Pancho got in on the ground floor, securing a government contract to supply planes and instructors for the area’s first class beginning that winter. D’Ella found out later Hughes had actually bent Pancho’s propeller in an accident, and it never quite worked right afterwards. Pancho was barely twenty, and totally unprepared to be a mother, much less the wife of a minister. A main contention of her case was: "My grandfather founded the United States Air Force." She gave me a Thoroughbred horse called Jackie Payne, 'cause I liked the horse so well. One of the questions we get asked a lot, is “What happened to Billy Barnes and why isn’t he in your film?” Billy, for those of you who don’t know, was Pancho’s only child. In the same fashion Pancho herself has become something of a legend, a fascinating yet enigmatic icon whose swagger is often celebrated, but whose story has been largely unknown. On that argument, the court found in her favor and she was awarded $375,000 remuneration for her property and business. Pancho asked him if it was a social call or a business one. Later, the supersonic jockeys called themselves the Blow and Go Club, as a nod to breaking the sound barrier in an X-1 in 1947. Until now. “Those two could not get within six feet of each other without having a big argument,” remembers Barbara Rowland, who was friends with both. I’ll Be Seeing You in All the Old Familiar Places. : A serious endocrine disorder, which was never properly diagnosed, was responsible for Pancho’s behavior that became unpredictable and sometimes uncharacteristically odd. [14][2][3] Bill obtained special permission, which was granted from the United States Air Force, to spread her ashes over the site of the Happy Bottom Riding Club. "Boy," he says, " "I looked at her, and said 'Wow!' Barnes became very close friends with many of the early test pilots, including Chuck Yeager, Robert Anderson "Bob" Hoover, Walt Williams, Jack Ridley, General Jimmy Doolittle, Buzz Aldrin, North American Aviation flight test mechanic Bob Cadick, and flight test supervisor Roy Ferren. "Lady Godiva," he laughs. She says 'I'll teach you your ABCs.' "Uncensored" version now on DVD and in film festivals. Choose happy. "We went over there one day, it was her birthday, July 29th," Tony recounts. Synopsis: A charismatic figure featured in Tom Wolfe's book The Right Stuff, Florence "Pancho" Barnes was one of the most important women in 20th Century aviation. Billy challenged the will, claiming another will was written in February 1970, absolving the first.

Her father spoiled her as the son he wished he had, while her mother cared for … A tough and fearless aviatrix, Pancho was a rival of Amelia Earhart's who made a name for herself as Hollywood's first female stunt pilot. And some peckerwood's gotta land the son … He was a well-known figure in the Antelope Valley in the 1970s, working as both a pilot and flight instructor out of Fox Field in Lancaster. Everyone gathered around and made a gigantic fuss over her. She gratefully accepted and the old Pancho started to spring back. PBS sponsored a documentary film, The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club, completed in 2009. In the photo for her pilot's license, Hurrell had her strike "a masculine pose, complete with cigarette and grimy fingernails". "She had a 5-gaited show horse, it was called Santa Maria or Moreno, and we called it Red Skin, and she had a Thoroughbred gray called Tetraethel. "So we got in the hogs' pen, and we were just lucky the hogs were gentle, because some hogs'll eat you up," Tony says with a scowl. This webpage and all of its contents ©2006-2015 Nick T. Spark, ©2015 Nick Spark Productions, LLC. The USAF originally offered her a price for her ranch, land, and facilities that was very close to the cost of undeveloped desert land.
Florence Lowe "Pancho" Barnes (July 22, 1901 – March 30, 1975) was a pioneer aviator and a founder of the first movie stunt pilots' union.

Had Pancho been younger, she would have been up there with the WASPS (Women’s Airforce Service Pilots). The effect of even the hint of impropriety resulted in her ranch and business being put off-limits to military personnel, and the value of her business plummeted. George Hurrell's brilliantly orchestrated photographs helped define Hollywood glamour in the 1930s. Times-Advocate (Escondido): Pancho Barnes Museum Planned, 22 Jan 1978. We got your prime pilots that get all the hot planes, and we got your pud-knockers who dream about getting the hot planes. Although late in her life most enjoyed the legend of Pancho Barnes, many had avoided the argumentative, profane, unkempt woman herself.

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